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Familiar letdown game leaves Calgary Flames demoralized once again



Oh sure, the Flames broke their normal routine by scoring twice in the third, threatening to pull off their first final-period comeback victory in 15 attempts.

However, in the end, it was the same old.

If it feels like the Flames save their worst hockey for the NHL’s worst teams, you might be comforted in knowing you’re not wrong.

Against teams currently sitting outside the playoffs, the Flames have stumbled to an 11-11-6 record.


That’s 17 losses against bottom feeders – the type of games that are considered baseline wins if you are to make the playoffs.

“We’re not helping ourselves,” groused Mikael Backlund, whose second-period goal got the Flames within one, extending his points streak to seven games.

“It’s hard to play these guys too. No team is easy in this league – it’s the best league in the world.

“I’ve been in the position where you’re way out of the playoffs and most of those teams are young teams with guys who want to prove themselves in the league or get new deals.

“If you give them some life, they’re hanging around.

“That’s been our issue. We haven’t put our foot on the gas and taken over games and pushed them out of games.

“It’s making it hard on ourselves.”

Of their last six losses, four came against goalies with names like Jaxson Stauber, Mads Sogaard, Magnus Hellberg and, on Monday, Ersson.

The 23-year-old fifth rounder did well to put his 172-pound frame in front of plenty of high-quality Flames chances to run his career-opening win streak to six games.

There was a timely post aiding his cause late in the proceedings, as well as a few that rattled off the fifth-rounder’s torso almost by accident.

“Yeah, he made some pretty big saves there,” said Andrew Mangiapane, who tied the game with 11 minutes left.

“I don’t know, I kinda feel like it’s happening a little too much now and we’ve got to put the onus on ourselves.”

No question.

Thing is, offensively isn’t where the Flames felt challenged Monday – it was in their own zone, where coverage was an issue on all four finishes.

Jacob Markstrom had little chance on the first three, with the game-winner being a finish in-tight everyone in red would like to have back.

With morale on the wane, inside and outside the dressing room, it’s getting harder and harder to believe this Flames club is capable of piecing together the type of run required to stay in this playoff race.

Flames’ locker room demoralized by same old script after another disappointing loss

Their longest win streak of the year has been three games.

It’s been almost a month since they’ve won a measly back-to-back.

“I think it just comes down to us being consistent,” said Noah Hanifin.

“At this time of year, no matter who we are playing – top team or bottom team – we’ve got to worry about Flames hockey and play consistently.

“We can’t let our game dip at all. The rest of the year we’re going to have to tighten that up, obviously.”

It could get worse, as the Flames now set out for a three-game roadie starting in Tempe, Arizona to play a top contender for the Connor Bedard contestant, followed by a game 24 hours later in Vegas where the Flames have never, ever won.

After that, the defending champs.

And they’ll likely make the journey without Michael Stone, who was seen sporting a boot and crutches as he hobbled into the Dome Monday.

Limping along – something these Flames know all about.


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Switzerland win LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2023



Defending champions Switzerland beat Norway by 6-3 in Sunday afternoon’s gold medal final at the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2023.

This was a fourth successive world title for skip Silvana Tirinzoni, fourth player Alina Paetz and second Carole Howald. For Paetz and Howald it is a sixth world women’s championship title.

After blanking the first end, Switzerland’s fourth player Alina Paetz opened the scoring with a single point in the second end when she played a raise take-out.

Team Norway © WCF / Jeffrey Au

The Swiss still led by 1-0 in the fourth end when Norway’s fourth player Kristin Skaslien had a complete miss on an attempt to blank the end and gave up a steal of one point to double Switzerland’s lead to 2-0.


In the fifth end, Skaslien made amends with a draw to put two points on the board for Norway, that levelled the score at 2-2.

After another blank end in the sixth, Switzerland took the lead again in the seventh end when Paetz brought her last stone draw inside three Norwegian stones to score one (3-2).

Norway levelled again at 3-3, in the eighth end when Skaslien played a hit to promote one of her own stones into scoring position.

In the ninth end, Switzerland’s Paetz played her final draw precisely onto the button and inside three Norwegian stones, to score one and nudge her team into a 4-3 lead.

In the tenth end, Norway’s Skaslien had a draw to tie the game and force an extra end, but her shot came up short to hand Switzerland a steal of two points and a 6-3 win.

Swiss celebration after the final © WCF / Jeffrey Au

The gold medal winning Swiss team are: skip and third player Silvana Tirinzoni, fourth Alina Paetz, second Carole Howald and lead Briar Schwaller-Huerlimann, supported by their coach Pierre Charette.

The silver medal winning Norwegian team are: skip Marianne Roervik, fourth Kristin Skaslien, second Mille Haslev Nordbye, lead Martine Roenning and alternate Maia Ramsfjell, supported by their coach Rune Steen Hansen.

Gold medal game result

Norway-Switzerland: 3-6

Engage with the World Curling Federation about the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2023 on TwitterInstagramFacebook and Weibo and be searching the hashtags #WWCC2023 #curling


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Despite 17 birdies, Rory McIlroy needs two trips to ‘friendly’ No. 18



Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele were deadlocked in their quarterfinal match Saturday afternoon at Austin Country Club when both players yanked their tee balls at the par-4 finishing hole.

The closest ball had found the left rough, just 74 yards from the hole but with a large tree blocking a straightforward wedge shot.

McIlroy was pretty sure that ball was his.

“I was walking up there expecting it to be a TaylorMade ball and I saw a Callaway on it, and I was as surprised as anyone, because mine was further left than Xander’s off the tee,” McIlroy said. “Look, you need a little bit of fortune in these things, and that was a bit of luck for me today.”


McIlroy’s tee ball had trundle farther down the hill, about 30 yards away. Schauffele, meanwhile, was forced to punch his second shot under and to the left of the tree. He missed the birdie chip, leaving McIlroy, who had pitched to 12 feet, a chance to win a match on No. 18 for the second time in one day.

And McIlroy buried it to advance to the semifinals of the final WGC-Dell Match Play.

“It’s sort of been friendly to me all week,” McIlroy said of the last hole, which he’s now played in 4 under in three trips this week. He eagled after driving the green with a 375-yard shot in Thursday’s group-stage win over Denny McCarthy.

“Yeah, hopefully if I can play a little bit better, I don’t need to play 18 tomorrow. But we shall see.”

McIlroy was certainly joking. His closing birdie against Schauffele marked his 17th of the day. He carded nine of those in a 2-up victory over Lucas Herbert in the Round of 16.

“Both ends of the bag are working pretty well,” McIlroy said, “and the stuff in the middle is not too bad, either.”

McIlroy has seemed to get everyone’s best shot so far, and that figures to continue in his semifinal bout opposite Cameron Young on Sunday morning.

Young played 32 holes in 12 under on Saturday.


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Hab posts video showing frustration with punishment for Bruin – CTV News Montreal



Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman took to social media Friday to vent his frustration with a decision by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

“So I’ve gotten a two-game suspension for cross-checking a guy in the back of the helmet. A full-blown intentional cross-check to the face? One game. Hmm,” a bloody-chinned Hoffman says in a video shared online.

Hoffman is referring to the one-game suspension given to Boston Bruins winger A.J. Greer, who cross-checked Hoffman in the face during the first period of the Bruins-Canadiens game Thursday night.


The incident occurred after the players slashed each other’s sticks leading up to a faceoff.

Greer was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct. Hoffman was able to complete the game sporting a bloodied face and a mask covering the injured area.

In addition to the suspension, Greer will forfeit US$4,121.62 in salary.

The Canadiens lost the game 4-2.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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